Not in Print: playwrights off script - on inspiration, process and theatre itself

Norm & Ahmed: Race prejudice is a profoundly irrational force l Australian theatre classics

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In Norm and Ahmed a rather ocker, white Australian male encounters a well-mannered Pakistani student with revolutionary ambitions on a Sydney street at midnight. The exploration of alienation in this play remained a common theme in Buzo’s work, with a tireless commitment to reflecting the true nature of Australian society.

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Alex Buzo was born in Sydney and educated at the University of NSW. In the late 1960s his early plays Norm and Ahmed, Rooted and The Front Room Boys pioneered a revival of Australian theatre. Macquarie and other historical plays such as Big River and Pacific Union helped to popularise the themes of our individual and national maturity. Buzo's books Tautology, The Longest Game, The Young Person's Guide to the Theatre and A Dictionary of the Almost Obvious confirm his reputation as an important recorder of the modern Australian idiom.

In 2005 he was awarded an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from the University of New South Wales for his contribution to Australian literature. And following his death in 2006, his daughter Emma founded The Alex Buzo Company, which was the first arts organisation in Australia to produce, promote and perpetuate the work of a single Australian writer. Today, Emma Buzo is here to discuss what is, perhaps, her father’s most famous work, Norm and Ahmed, which she loves deeply and also directed for The Alex Buzo Company in 2007.

Wary Asians on a Theme: Dramatising in the Near North l Australian theatre in Asia

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Toby Leon reads an article Alex Buzo wrote for Quadrant Magazine in 2004. It’s called ‘Wary Asians on a Theme: Dramatising in the Near North’ and unpacks the cultural complexities that Buzo encountered when presenting his work in Asia - from India, to Malaysia and Indonesia too - seeing the reactions from audiences, reading local critics’ appraisals of his plays, listening to the directors’ choices about his characters motivation and truth, then trying to make those same choices himself when he directed his play Pacific Union in Jakarta. And of course the piece is brimming with Alex’s insight and humour, both just as sharp as each other.


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Alex Buzo was born in Sydney and educated at the University of NSW. In the late 1960s his early plays Norm and AhmedRooted and The Front Room Boys pioneered a revival of Australian theatre.Macquarie and other historical plays such as Big River and Pacific Union helped to popularise the themes of our individual and national maturity. Buzo's books TautologyThe Longest GameThe Young Person's Guide to the Theatre and A Dictionary of the Almost Obvious confirm his reputation as an important recorder of the modern Australian idiom.

Introduction to Shafana & Aunt Sarrinah l On the politics of Australian theatre

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Dr. Christina Ho reads her introduction to Shafana and Aunt Sarrinah. It’s called Creating Identity in a Hostile World. Dr. Ho researches migration, multiculturalism and the politics of diversity, focusing particularly on the experiences of Muslim Australians and the Chinese diaspora.

Jump for Jordan: caught between cultures l Award-winning Australian theatre

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Aspiring archaeologist, Sophie, left home when she was 20, much to the shame of her traditional Jordanian mother. Years later, losing sleep and petrified by the judgement of her visiting ‘mad Arab’ Aunty Azza, Sophie's forced to lie about her life, her career and the existence of her Aussie partner. Worst of all is the fear that she’s also lying to herself.

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Donna Abela served her playwriting apprenticeship at Powerhouse Youth Theatre, a company she co-founded in 1987 in Sydney’s culturally diverse western suburbs. Donna worked continuously with PYT for the next seventeen years as it consolidated its practice of community collaboration.


She has worked extensively as a dramaturge and script assessor for various theatre companies and organisations, including the Australian Writers' Guild and the Australian National Playwrights' Centre. Donna also teaches writing, and has lectured in scriptwriting at Wesley Institute since 1991.

Over her career, Donna has written more than 30 stage and radio plays for audiences of all ages. Credits include: A Cleansing Force, Olympia and Phoung, Spirit, The Greatest Show On Earth, The Rood Screen, The Daphne Massacre and Mrs Macquarie’s Cello.